The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part IV
In the past an evangelist has usually been a parachurch ministry, not part of a local ministry. He/she would come in, hold meetings, then leave. The only “support” given to the evangelist was usually financial through offerings. Often the evangelist could be someone whom no one knew personally, only as an acquaintance, since the only time they would be part of the local congregation was during their meetings. Being on the road so much, it was hard for an evangelist to establish personal lasting relationships. Some denominations have looked upon the evangelist as a stepping stone for young preacher to get experience and name recognition before earning their own pulpit and church. The young evangelist may be a good preacher, but how does he learn “body ministry” if on the road so much?
It is time to “retool” how we think about an evangelist as a person and his passion, vision, and point of view. I never think it is God’s will that an evangelist should be a traveling loner. Personally, he needs a close Brother/Sister in the Lord who has a shepherding heart to nurture and guide his personal daily walk, not a Board Of Directors who looks over the “business” of being an evangelist. He, like the rest of us, needs personal care that only someone with a shepherding heart can give. A shepherd knows his sheep, and the sheep know their shepherd, so a shepherd would known when it was appropriate for the evangelist to release his passion at home or on the road and when to be home with his family. An evangelist can save thousands of souls, yet easily loose his own family, his own treasure, if his priorities are not in order. A Shepherd helps him prioritize his life and his calendar.
An evangelist needs a teacher. The Word of God, the Bible, is central to the heart of the message of an evangelist. “Redemption”, “rebirth”, “repentance”, “conversion, turning from one’s sin”, “sanctification”, etc. are all Biblical themes at the heart of an evangelist’s message. If an evangelist isn’t grounded in the Word, his message will be watered down and ineffective. A teacher can help supply Biblical principles to aide the evangelist. Also every person needs a partner in Bible study, and this duo would be dynamic.
An evangelist wants to see “rebirth” and “new life”. He not only wants to plant the Logos word into those who are listening to his message, but also wants to “birth” a Rhema word, an active word, into their lives. Evangelists want to see changed lives, lives now living for Jesus. Who better to help guide him in his endeavors than a prophet? With the evangelist always being on the front lines, the front runner, a prophet needs to bring him back into the Presence of God to personally be refueled. A spiritually arid evangelist will not produce fruit unless he too drinks the living water and feeds on the living bread found in personal and corporate worship that a prophet can supply. Also the prophetic voice is a powerful voice when giving an evangelistic message.
Currently, evangelists have Boards to govern or oversee their work. Often boards become “yes” men to encourage and propel the evangelist, not iron sharpening iron. Usually Board Meetings become “business” meetings, not ministering meetings toward the evangelist own personal needs. The evangelist needs an personal overseer to “see over” not only his ministry, but his own personal life. Someone who sees the Big Picture, who will release him in his passion of evangelism, yet will release the other five fold ministries to minister to the evangelist. He knows when an evangelist as a person needs pastoral care, thus preventing the disasterous fall of many previous spiritual giants; when an evangelist needs a teacher preventing inherent false teaching or doctrines; when an evangelist needs a “black and white” seeing prophet to call forth righteousness and draw the evangelist back to the source of his spiritual strength.
We need to retool our thinking that an evangelist is not alone, but part of a team, that what he “births” can be nurtured by others, that he too needs body ministry for his own spiritual health, that he is part of a family, a group who cares about his own personal life and direction. Drawing in an evangelist into a team, a family, a body of Christ in order to be released is a “retooling”, a new mindset, we need to consider for his health and welfare.